More research on African swine fever is urgently needed: No cure, no vaccine and no treatment yet exists for this lethal pig disease

4647557920_0b7c27da67_b.jpgPigs at the Drestry Farm Industry commercial farm in Asia (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs. It kills nearly 100% of the pigs it infects. The good news is that the African swine fever virus does not infect or harm humans. The bad news is that it devastates household and national economies. Particularly in Africa and now in China and Vietnam, it can destroy the livelihoods of poor pig farmers and others who trade pigs and pork, depleting their food as well as income.

The ongoing spread of the disease in China, the world’s largest producer of pigs (the country has some 440 million pigs, which is half the world’s swine population) and pork, is causing alarm. To date, more than a million pigs have been culled to try to stop the spread of the disease, the disease…

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